Davenport Diocese receives gift of olivewood crucifix from Bethlehem

Leaders of Blest Art Inc. present an olive wood crucifix to Bishop Martin Amos in the chapel of the Davenport Dio­cese’s headquarters. Gathered for the presen­ta­tion March 14 are, from left: Msgr. John Hyland, the diocese’s vicar general; Awad Qumseya, the company’s vice president; Karima Qumseya; Bishop Amos and Jeryes Qumseya, the company’s president.

By Barb Arland-Fye

DAVENPORT — Blest Art Inc., which sells olive wood religious carvings made by Christians in the Holy Land, gave the Davenport Diocese a large crucifix to hang in its newly remodeled chancery headquarters.

The family-owned company’s leaders presented the 35-1/2-inch-tall olive wood crucifix to Bishop Martin Amos on March 14 in gratitude for the diocese’s support of Blest Art Inc.’s mission.

Jeryes Qumseya, the company’s president, said he was chosen by his people and by the Catholic patriarch of Jerusalem to come to the United States to help preserve the last of the Christian population in the Holy Land.


Helping struggling families in the Holy Land to find alternative markets for their olive wood religious carvings is an important part of that mission, he said. He and his wife, Karima, and one of their sons, Awad, the company’s vice president, were in Davenport for the presentation of the crucifix. The company is based in Beloit, Wis.

Bishop Amos has given permission to the Qumseyas to contact parishes in the Davenport Diocese to display and sell the religious handicrafts. Each pastor contacted can make the decision about inviting Blest Art’s representatives into the parish, the bishop said.

“I give this permission because of our responsibility to help Christians in one of the oldest dioceses in the world, the land of the Lord himself, and for the Christians who are suffering there,” Bishop Amos said.

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